ANAHEIM—The Anaheim Ducks lost home ice advantage yesterday with a 3-2 loss at the hands of the Nashville Predators in the opening game of the NHL Playoffs. The energy at the Honda Center was what you expected in a playoff atmosphere, but it wasn’t enough to propel the Ducks to a victory.
The Predators jumped out to an early lead with a one-timer goal from James Neal a mere 35 seconds into the game.
In the waning minutes of the opening period, the Ducks found themselves with a two-man advantage thanks to a pair of penalties from Anthony Bitetto and Shea Weber. Captain Ryan Getzlaf capitalized by putting a rebound in the back of the net after it had clanged off the post.
“I thought we responded after the goal,” Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said to the NHL media. “When you give up a goal in the first minute like that, you never want that to happen. It helped settle our group down, and we responded well after that.”
Forty-eight seconds into the second period, Anaheim took the lead with a laser shot from Ryan Kesler that found its way past the reaching glove of Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne.
The Predators tied the game up again with a goal from Colin Wilson at the 7:55 mark of the second period, and Filip Forsberg put the Preds in front when his pass deflected off the skate of a Ducks defenseman and ricocheted past John Gibson at the midway mark of the third period.
The Ducks followed with an onslaught of shots at Rinne, but it was a lead that would not be relinquished.
Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau told the media after the game, “No one on this team is saying ‘Oh, this is over. Plenty of teams have lost the first game and have come back and won, then won again.”
The Ducks will have a chance to redeem themselves on Sunday, April 17 when they face-off against the Predators for Game 2 of the seven-game series. The puck is set to drop at 6:30 p.m. at Honda Center.